OXFORD – While Houston Nutt warned his team of a possible trap game against Jacksonville State, Ole Miss quarterback Nathan Stanley said he felt like the Rebels didn’t give the Gamecocks their full attention.
Stanley, making his first start, began well on Saturday, but the offense stalled in the second half, while the defense wilted.
It was a combination that couldn’t be overcome.
“I felt like we kind of let up in the second half. We should have taken these guys more seriously than we did,” Stanley said.
Elsewhere players searched for answers, particularly from a defense that has received high praise throughout the summer from SEC media and other college football observers.
The Rebels were missing a key player in defensive end Kentrell Lockett. The tests on his heart showed no abnormalities, but it will be next weekend before Lockett is back on the field.
His backup, third-year sophomore Gerald Rivers, had three tackles and was around the ball.
Junior college transfer Wayne Dorsey, making his first college start, was in on only one tackle.
“Not having Kentrell hurt us, yeah, but at the same time, other guys have to step up,” said strong safety Johnny Brown, who had 10 tackles and broke up a pass.
Jacksonville State had only 70 yards on 20 plays in the first half but gained 285 yards on 49 plays in the second half – an average of 5.8 yards per play.
“We play as one unit, and we didn’t get the job done,” Brown said. “I was shocked to see the meltdown of the whole defense.”
A redshirt for Mackey
n For most of last week Randall Mackey was the Rebels’ No. 2 quarterback and was a key part of the game plan against Jacksonville State.
When the NCAA appeals committee granted immediate eligibility to transfer Jeremiah Masoli, Nutt met with Mackey, a junior college All-American at East Mississippi last year, and got Mackey’s thoughts on sitting out this season.
“He’s a winner and a great football player,” Nutt said. “I talked to him last night and asked him if he’d consider a redshirt instead of playing him spot duty here and there.”
Mackey agreed and will not play this season unless there’s an emergency. He’ll have two years of eligibility remaining.
“I appreciate his attitude. He knows it’s for the best,” Nutt said.
n Jacksonville State went 71 yards in nine plays and 2 minutes, 31 seconds, scoring the touchdown on a 19-yard pass from Marques Ivory to Alan Bonner and the tying 2-point conversion on Ivory’s pass to La’Ray Williams. That sent the game into overtime.
n 3 – The Rebels turned the ball over three times, while the Gamecocks had no turnovers.
n “There was nothing to be done but do it. We were disappointed when we got into the fourth-and-long, but we trusted everybody. Once we got that, I knew we were going to score.” – Jacksonville State QB Marques Ivory
n The Rebels go on the road for the first time, taking on Tulane in the Louisiana Superdome in an 8 p.m., start. The game is scheduled to be televised by ESPN Classic.
n Freshman running back Jeff Scott had 19 yards on three carries and also returned two kickoffs for 68 yards, including a long of 40 yards. … There were no obvious Ole Miss injuries. … The Rebels rushed for 237 yards, led by Brandon Bolden’s 104, the third 100-yard game of his career. … Bolden also scored a touchdown in overtime. … The Rebels punted just once, a 31-yard shank by strong-legged sophomore Tyler Campbell. … The Rebels led the SEC in tackles for loss last year but had only five Saturday to the Gamecocks’ nine.
Parrish Alford / NEMS Daily Journal